Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office responded to a reinstatement letter received from suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren on Wednesday, following a dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Warren.
DeSantis’ suspension of Warren on Aug. 4 accused Warren of “incompetence and willful defiance of his duties.”
Warren filed a federal lawsuit seeking to get his job back. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle on Friday ruled that DeSantis’ suspension violated the First Amendment and the Florida Constitution but that the federal court lacked jurisdiction to reinstate Warren.
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“The record includes not a hint of misconduct by Mr. Warren,” Hinkle’s 59-page ruling said.
In a letter to DeSantis on Wednesday, Warren pointed to the judge’s conclusions and asked for reinstatement so he could serve the nearly two years remaining in his term.
“Duty requires you to accept the court’s findings that the executive order is illegal, even if that finding is perhaps unwelcome,” Warren wrote.
The Columbia Law School graduate noted that, following “exhaustive discovery” and the trial, the governor now has more information than he did when he issued the suspension.
“The facts are now known, and the court’s findings are clear: I engaged in zero misconduct; the allegations in the executive order are false; and the suspension violates federal and state law,” Warren wrote.
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Following the issuance of the letter, asking for reinstatement on Wednesday, Florida Governor DeSantis’ office issued a response.
“Andrew Warren, of all people, should understand the distinction between legal dicta and the holding of a court’s decision,” said DeSantis Press Secretary Bryan Griffin. “The failures that motivated the suspension were Mr. Warren’s actual performance—not advocacy—as a reform prosecutor.”
“Mr. Warren signed a statement refusing to prosecute the laws of the land. Thus, the governor removed Mr. Warren for neglect of duty and incompetence. Public prosecutors cannot pick and choose which laws to enforce,” Griffin said. “In its lengthy opinion, the Court attempted to usurp the Florida Senate’s constitutional authority to make a determination on Mr. Warren’s neglect of duty and incompetence. It is the Florida Senate that is to rightly serve as the ultimate factfinder in this case.”
Griffin concluded, “We do not agree with the Court’s dicta, which are merely opinions, and need not address them since the Court ultimately determined it lacked jurisdiction and thus ruled in favor of the governor. Mr. Warren remains suspended from the office he failed to serve.”